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Lake District Walks

Mosedale Horseshoe


Date: 22nd August 2008
Distance: 10.7 miles
Ascent: 4606 feet
Time: 7 hours 10 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NY182075

Walk Summary:
A superb walk visiting a number of tops including Pillar and Steeple with Yewbarrow providing a real sting in the tail.

Route Summary: Wasdale Campsite - Wasdale Head - Black Sail Pass - Looking Stead - Pillar - - Black Crag - Scoat Fell - Steeple - Scoat Fell - Red Pike - Dore Head - Yewbarrow North Top - Yewbarrow - Overbeck Bridge - Wasdale Campsite.


1. Great Gable

Great Gable

2. Looking up Mosedale towards Pillar

Looking up Mosedale towards Pillar

3. Yewbarrow


4. Looking across Ennerdale to High Crag and Seat

Looking across Ennerdale to High Crag and Seat

5. The top of Looking Stead

The top of Looking Stead

6. Yewbarrow and Mosedale

Yewbarrow and Mosedale

7. Pillar


8. Ennerdale Water from Pillar

Ennerdale Water from Pillar

9. On the summit of Pillar

On the summit of Pillar

10. Red Pike

Red Pike

11. Mosedale


12. Black Crag

Black Crag

13. Pillar


14. Scoat Fell

Scoat Fell

15. Steeple


16. Pillar from Steeple

Pillar from Steeple

17. Black Crag from Steeple

Black Crag from Steeple

18. On Steeple

On Steeple

19. Approaching the top of Red Pike

Approaching the top of Red Pike

20. Wastwater


21. Stirrup Crag from Dore Head

Stirrup Crag from Dore Head

22. The summit of Yewbarrow from the north top

The summit of Yewbarrow from the north top

23. The top of Yewbarrow

The top of Yewbarrow

24. On Yewbarrow

On Yewbarrow

25. The Scafells from Yewbarrow

The Scafells from Yewbarrow

26. Illgill Head and Wastwater

Illgill Head and Wastwater

Walk Detail: My first solo camping trip proved to be a bit of a cracker. Despite the long drive to get there the Wasdale campsite is without doubt the best campsite I’ve been to. I also desperately needed to get some more of the Western Fells under my belt.

It was a nice late August day with nice spells of sunshine peeping through the cloud. The walk along Mosedale whetted the appetite with good views of Yewbarrow and Red Pike in particular. The walk didn’t really get going though until arrival at Black Sail Pass which brought a great deal of the rest of Lakeland into view.

The top of Pillar was fairly broad but there were some great views, particularly of Ennerdale. In some ways though I was most excited about getting to the top of Steeple so I made my way fairly quickly over Black Crag (which was surprisingly rocky underfoot though not to the extent of Broad Crag) and Scoat Fell. Steeple was pretty much as good as I expected it to be so I spent some time up there enjoying my airy and solitary perch.

For some reason I did not expect too much from Red Pike but the short section along the rim of crags to the summit proved to be quite exciting. In fact the summit cairn was perched so dramatically on the edge that, not for the first time, I wished I had a walking companion to both share the experience and at the same time maximise the photography potential of the stunning landscapes.

The descent from Red Pike to Dore Head seemed to be quite long but the increasingly imposing outline of Stirrup Crag kept my attention. Having scrambled up it I am fairly sure that I wouldn’t want to go down that way especially at one point where there is a very steep drop all the way down to Mosedale.

The walk from the top of Stirrup Crag to the summit of Yewbarrow was quite pleasant and it was from there that I met Bob. Bob had decided to climb Yewbarrow from Wastwater and had managed to do so despite getting a bit lost in the valley having left his wife and mother in a car waiting for him. We decided to descend together and it was strange after hours of solitary walking to be with someone who was quite chatty. This proved to be a welcome distraction on what was a very tricky descent on a very badly eroded and rocky path.

While Yewbarrow may be one of the lowest 2000fters in the Lakes it is certainly not easily climbed or descended. Eventually we made it down to the lakeside road where we parted company. I headed back to the campsite for a well earned shower followed by chilli and red wine. A good end to what was one of the best days out I have had on the fells.

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